"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

India blocks access to 245 web pages

The state government of Assam denies claims that Indian soldiers
had been ordered to shoot on sight.

India attacks Internet Freedom
  • Censorship  -  Coming soon to a laptop near you.
  • To stop the free flow of information to the public, India pressures Facebook and Twitter to remove content not approved by the State.
  • Google and Facebook have already agreed to censor the Internet for the government.

It is the same old story.  The Indian government (like governments the world over) is angry that the people are able to see and read uncontrolled news on the Internet about violence in Assam.

So in response to freedom the government of India has put pressure on digital media outlets, including social networking site Facebook, and micro-blogging service Twitter, to remove "inflammatory" content it said helped spread rumours that sparked an exodus of migrants from some Indian cities last week.

The Indian government said it had already blocked access to 245 web pages claiming they contained doctored videos and images.

"A lot of inflammatory and harmful content [or] information has been found to be appearing on the social networking sites hosted outside the country," the government statement reported to Al Jazeera.

"The government is for free information. There is no question of anything being censored here. But that does not mean there are not limitations," a senior official in the Ministry of Home Affairs said, adding that authorities were trying to identify those responsible for posting the so-called "inflammatory material" . . . . . whatever that might be.

Naturally only the government will decide what is inflammatory.

Thousands flee violence in India's Assam

R Chandrashekhar, telecommunications secretary, threatened legal action against the websites if they did not fully comply with the requests to take down the offending pages.

Chandrashekhar told CNN-IBN television that Google and Facebook had largely complied with the government's requests while the response from Twitter had been "extremely poor".

"We understand the gravity of the situation, strongly condemn acts of violence and continue to work closely with relevant authorities", Paroma Roy Chowdhury, Google spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies," Facebook said in a statement released by their Indian representatives.

New Delhi had already warned the popular micro-blogging service that it could face legal action if it failed to identify their sources in the "inflammatory" messages.

Thousands of students and workers from India's northeast fled Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities last week fearing retaliation for violence against Muslims in the remote tea-growing state of Assam after threatening mobile phone text messages and website images sowed panic.

Clashes between indigenous Bodo people in Assam and Muslim settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh have killed nearly 80 people, mostly Muslims of Bengali origin, and displaced some 300,000 since July.

A news van set up on fire by the demonstrators


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